Africa has abundant uncultivated arable land, roughly over half the global total, tropical climates that permit long growing seasons, and an expanding population that provides a readily available market for produce consumption.
Farming is a profitable business though our forefathers were subsistence farmers. They were poor , dirty and this has made us to have a wrong impression about the whole concept of farming.
Back to pre-colonial era then, the main economic activity in the African continent was agriculture. When most farmers were encouraged by high economic returns from productions. The marketing of the crop was well organized.
But presently the overall productivity of African agriculture has remained low, both in food production and export sector, agriculture has rotted for years as a result human and other productive capacity moving away from the sector and this was happening due to lack of transformation by the governments in African
Africa as of today looks like home of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, discrimination due to societal differences, crisis, in which this was happening because of lack of food and clean water.
Lack of correlation between the government and expert in agriculture is also another main problem bedevilling the sector.
Africa population is increasing at alarming rate, the more population there is in a particular environment, the vibrant the agribusiness will be.
In Nigeria agriculture has its place in the history of the country, and this is the reason for the ‘green’ in the nation’s national flag and the progressive roles it has played; serving as the major source of livelihood to over 75% of the population.
Back in the days when Nigeria rely on groundnut, cotton, cocoa, in which the country has the history of groundnut pyramid in Kano state of northern part of the country, then there was no hunger, talk less of malnutrition.
Groundnut pyramid in Kano, in the 1960’s
But now with the dissolution of the groundnut marketing board, farmers have been left alone and most of them are not only struggling to get seeds and other Agricultural inputs including fertilizers but also have problems selling their produce on remunerative prices, and farmers are no longer assured of a ready market for their produce.
60 Years After, Kano Groundnut Pyramids Site turns to Football Field
There was complete neglect of Agriculture in Nigeria after the discovery of oil in the early 50s.The consequence of this development was a more complex problem militating against effective agricultural productivity.
There was a high cost of labour resulting from the exodus of young people from rural areas into urban centres in search of white collar jobs, now such people considered agriculture a poor man’s job.
People have to buy food, fish, and meat,this understanding is enough to encourage the African continent to go into agricultural business.There is hope for the government to establish an agency that will force people into farming, as children were forced to go to school.
I hope government at all level will find a way in transforming agriculture business, by providing modern farming facilities, and find a way to force its people into farming activities, to be able to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
If African government really care for its people, state of emergency need to be declared in the agriculture sector, as it is a way of tackling poverty, hunger, malnutrition unemployment, and even crisis. As the saying goes,’’a hungry man is an angry man’’.
However there is a need to form a network between research institutes, public and private seed multiplication agencies, agencies involved in quality control and various nongovernmental organizations interested in various aspects of seed production. This network will identify bottlenecks in the seed production chain, catalyse or instigate applied and adaptive research and policy changes, that may be required to ensure rapid movement of new cultivars to farmers who need them. This approach will require continued interaction among the various stakeholders.
Expert believed that Africa is very blessed with agricultural resources, a large expanse of land estimated millions of hectares of which it has 80 percent of arable land.
I hope Africa will start seeing farming as a business and blood of our continent, and set aside the attitude of relying on oil and focus on farming, as the continent is blessed with favourable soil and climate condition that can accommodate crops, to feed itself and other continents.
Am sure transforming agriculture business will turn Africa into a net exporter as well as set Africa In line with global commodity.
The writer Shamsiyya Haruna is a practicing Journalist based in Kano and a public commentator who can be reached on 08036638295 or firstname.lastname@example.org